2016 | Contested Ground

Why Are Some Policies Healthy and Others Not?

28th Annual Health Policy Conference | April 5-6, 2016

CHSPR’s 28th annual health policy conference, held April 5-6, 2016, at the Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront, celebrated the career of Canada’s Undisciplined Economist, and our very own, Robert G. Evans.

Why is it so difficult to improve our health care system? Good policy ideas abound. Unfortunately all such ideas create winners and losers, such that health care policy is always intensely “Contested Ground”. Potential losers are frequently in a position to block or subvert progress because those who stand to lose are concentrated and strategically placed, while the beneficiaries are diffuse and disorganized. This conference will explore why some policies are “healthy” and others not. Some survive the contest, while others, although potentially also contributing to a more effective and efficient health care system, and/or improving a population’s health, don’t. Still others, with well-understood unhealthy effects, thrive like weeds.

Bob Evans has spent his career exposing “inconvenient truths” about the impacts of interests, positions, and policies in the health realm. The conference, intended to celebrate the vision, contributions and impacts of that body of work, will feature speakers addressing some of Bob’s most visible lifetime preoccupations. Conference themes will include international perspectives on contemporary Canadian health policy challenges, health care financing, other current health policy issues such as legal challenges, and the role of broader health determinants.

Download the conference summary document


Day 1: Tuesday, April 5

8:45 am | Welcome Remarks

Morris Barer, Conference Chair, CHSPR
Victoria Schuckel, Executive Director, Research and Innovation Branch, BC Ministry of Health
Deborah Money, Executive Vice Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of BC

9:00 am | Opening Plenary

Robert G. Evans, CHSPR

9:45 am | Contemporary Canadian Health Policy Challenges

Danielle Martin, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto [Slides]
Colleen Flood, University of Ottawa [Slides]

11:15 am | Contemporary Canadian Health Policy Challenges (continued)

Jeremiah Hurley, McMaster University [Slides]
François Béland, Université de Montréal [Slides]

1:30 pm | Can We Learn from Other Countries? Can Other Countries Learn from Us?

Ted Marmor, Yale University
Charles Normand, University of Dublin [Slides]
Ivy Bourgeault, University of Ottawa [Slides]

3:30 pm | Improving the Health of Populations

John Frank, University of Edinburgh [Slides]
Jeannie Shoveller, University of BC [Slides]
Michael Wolfson, University of Ottawa [Slides]

5:00 pm | Poster Reception and Bob Evans Roast

Day 2: Wednesday, April 6

8:45 am | Health Care Policy Innovation

Ian Morrison, Institute for the Future [Slides]
Michael Rachlis, University of Toronto [Slides]
Steven Lewis, Access Consulting Ltd.

10:45 am | Closing Panel: “Healthy” Policies – Critical Success Factors

Moderator: Jonathan Lomas
Panelist: John Lavis, McMaster University [Slides]
Panelist: Heather Davidson, BC Ministry of Health [Slides]
Respondent: Robert G. Evans, CHSPR

12:30 pm | Closing Remarks

Morris Barer, Conference Chair, CHSPR
Sabrina Wong, Director, CHSPR